Planet Rugby

The British & Irish Lions


Lions cruise in Melbourne

25th June 2013 12:19


Sean Maitland try for Lions 2013

Fine team try: Sean Maitland

The British and Irish Lions' midweek team signed off with an impressive 35-0 victory over the Rebels on Tuesday.

Scores came from Conor Murray, Sean Maitland, Sean O'Brien, a penalty try and Ben Youngs, with the tourists cantering past their Melbourne hosts.

For many in the side, this would likely be their final game in the 2013 Lions shirt and they responded well from last Tuesday's defeat to the Brumbies.

Despite not getting over the try-line, Toby Faletau was the star player for the Lions as his numerous carries made inroads in what was the British and Irish Lions' 100th victory on Australian soil.

It took the Lions 15 minutes to trouble the scorers when Murray capitalised on a strong set-piece from his side that led to number eight Faletau looking set to dot down via the pushover. As it was, the Welshman had the ball picked out from under his feet as Murray dived over on the right.

Owen Farrell knocked over the extras to make it 7-0 to kick-off his six-point performance that lasted 51 minutes before he was rested ahead of Saturday.

While the Rebels did enjoy sporadic spells of possession - with Gareth Delve and Ged Robinson prominent - the midweek Lions seemed much more comfortable than last Tuesday's clash in Canberra, with Faletau and O'Brien shining in the pack while Manu Tuilagi seemed to be enjoying being back in action after his lay-off through injury.

They would only have to wait eight more minutes before their next score too as arguably the try of the tour saw Tuilagi launch an attack from inside his own 22 before finding Maitland, whose pass to Faletau saw him slip close to the posts. Maitland followed up to score.

England fly-half Farrell's well-taken conversion extended matters to fourteen points, which was how the arrears remained at AAMI Park in Melbourne going into the half-time break.

Warren Gatland would have wanted more of the same from his troops and that was what he got in the second stanza, O'Brien taking nine minutes to add to the Lions' lead. His score came from a line-out move at the front five metres out that saw Ian Evans offload to Dan Lydiate who found his openside flank. That try would lead to Farrell's last act off the tee in a disciplined and organised shift that unfortunately was missing from Stuart Hogg last week.

Things would get worse for the Rebels just after the hour mark when replacement Jordy Reid was sent to the sin-bin after coming in from the side to halt a Lions maul that had Rory Best at the tail. Match referee Glen Jackson ran under the posts to award the penalty try.

Youngs capped the win with the Lions' fifth try seven minutes from time with a good finish off the back of a line-out move before the Lions stood firm to keep the Rebels' tally to zero.

Man of the match: A group of players put their hand up for the award but we go for number eight Toby Faletau, who was a constant threat with ball in hand. The Welsh forward has definitely kept the heat on Jamie Heaslip after this showing and sees off Richard Hibbard and Manu Tuilagi for Tuesday's personal gong. Will it be enough to oust Heaslip?

The scorers:

For Rebels:
Yellow: Reid (63 mins - pulling down maul)

For B&I Lions:
Tries: Murray, Maitland, O'Brien, Penalty, Youngs
Con: Farrell 3, Hogg 2

Rebels: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Tom English, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Rory Sidey, 11 Lachlan Mitchell, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Gareth Delve (c), 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Jarrod Saffy, 5 Hugh Pyle, 4 Cadeyrn Neville, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Nic Henderson.
Replacements: 16 Pat Leafa, 17 Cruze Ah Nau, 18 Paul Alo-Emile, 19 Luke Jones, 20 Jordy Reid, 21 Nic Stirzaker, 22 Angus Roberts, 23 Cooper Vuna.

British and Irish Lions: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Dan Lydiate (c), 5 Ian Evans, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Rory Best, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Tom Croft, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 Stuart Hogg.

Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)